Dieter’s Dive Week 17. Motivation

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Week 17 is all about the Big M:


Who has it? Who doesn’t? Who is going to create some out of thin air and take our money in the process? 

It’s a great week for folks who factor in narratives into their gambling, like yours truly, but that’s not to say that any of this is easier. 

My advice: if you’re going to play, play small. Consider it an investment in your mental health. There’s too much wackiness that can go down in Week 17 for anyone to feel comfortable placing significant wagers. 

That said, I can see some value in these three plays:

Cardinals (-3) at Rams 

» The Rams have won plenty of games this year with a quarterback who is below average. But enough about Jared Goff. 

The Rams are taking this whole “we can win with a bad quarterback” thing to a whole new level with John Wolford. 

The Cardinals are hardly inspiring — especially coming off of their Week 16 loss to the 49ers, an embarrassing performance if there ever was one — but I’m expecting them to bounce back and cover. 

And not just because of Wolford, either. No, that’d be too easy. 

No, the reason I’m on the Cardinals is because, while Kliff Kingsbury isn’t an NFL-level coach, he’s not so bad as to not be able to learn obvious lessons. 

The Rams run the same offense as San Francisco — the team the Cardinals saw last week. If Arizona can’t do better defensively week-over-week, defensive coordinator Vance Joseph and Kingsbury need to be shown the door before the offseason begins. 

There’s also the lack of Cooper Kupp for the Rams. Everyone with LA is pushing a narrative that Wolford is a nice guy, which is a telltale sign that they expect him to perform poorly on the field. (“But how can you be angry at him, he’s a great guy!”)

And the lack of Kupp will only exacerbate Wolford’s challenges. 

Robert Woods has taken over as the Rams’ No. 1, but without a viable No. 2, the Cardinals can overload his side of the field. Unless the Rams can run for 250 yards, I think Wolford is going to have to make some big-time, tight-window throws. 

You can bet on that happening. I’m betting on the Cardinals’ resurgent pass rush hurrying him and turning those tight-window throws into turnovers. 

Yes, the Rams’ defense is good. And yes, Murray has struggled against them in the past, going winless and completing only 57 percent of his passes on 5.7 yards per attempt, but I think he’s able to run more than in the past (if for no other reason than he must run). The Rams won’t keep Murray to under 20 points. 

And that’s what the Rams are going to need with their offense on Sunday. 

Motivation for Week 17

Falcons +7 at Buccaneers 

» I think the Bucs win because the Bucs need to win, but when it comes to motivation, don’t underrate Atlanta. 

The Falcons can put up points and their defense has played significantly better since Raheem Morris took over as the team’s interim head coach. 

And I think they go hard for him on Sunday. 

Morris interviewed for the full-time gig in Atlanta this week, and while he’s a solid option for other teams, it’s unlikely he’s going to land a head-coaching opportunity somewhere else this offseason. 

The Falcons players know that if Morris goes, there’s going to be full-blown upheaval. And if they win on Sunday, they might be able to land him that full-time job. 

The Bucs are playing good football as of late — there’s no doubt about that — but I think the hype around them has exceeded reality. 

Atlanta fights for their coach and makes this more interesting than you would expect. 

Ravens -13.5 at Bengals

» When the Ravens are favored big, they usually win big, going 10-6 against the spread as more than touchdown favorites since 2018. 

And lately, the Ravens are clicking on all cylinders. 

The Bengals are playing hard, there’s no doubt about that, but their talent deficiency cannot be overlooked in this game. Baltimore is going to run, run, run the ball in their effort to make the playoffs — that’s their identity. 

The Bengals have the worst rush defense in the NFL. You saw what David Johnson did last week, right? 

Meanwhile, I expect Baltimore’s defense to do a whole lot more than Houston’s. Brandon Allen won’t be able to handle all the blitzes Baltimore will throw at him and the Ravens will control this contest to the point where a backdoor cover will be a true challenge. 

Check out our other NFL articles(coming soon)

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